Mets manager Beltran quits after link to sign-stealing scandal


New York (AFP)

Carlos Beltran, the only player implicated in Major League Baseball's investigation into a sign-stealing scandal, stepped down Thursday as manager of the New York Mets after being hired last November.

Beltran said he met Thursday with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen about his status.

"We mutually agreed to part ways," Beltran said in a statement released by the Mets. "I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team.

"I couldn't let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future."

Wilpon and Van Wagenen said they expect Beltran, a 42-year-old Puerto Rican who played in the major leagues from 1998 to 2017, will be back in baseball in some capacity.

"This was not an easy decision," their joint statement said. "Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

Beltran becomes the third manager to leave in as many days as a result of the scandal surrounding the 2017 Houston Astros' World Series championship team stealing signs from opposing clubs and signaling to batters what type of pitch would be thrown to them.

An MLB report Monday unveiled the extent of the scandal, which saw high-tech equipment used to swipe the signs and communicate to the team's dugout to relay a signal to batters by banging on trash cans.

MLB issued one-year bans to Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, who were subsequently fired by the team.

On Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora, a coach on the Astros' 2017 squad who was also looking at major disciplinary action from MLB.

Beltran was described in the MLB report as a person of knowledge about the Astros' sign-stealing scheme but he wasn't disciplined, nor were any players.

Beltran retired in 2017 but was hired in November by the Mets as their new manager, a vacancy created after they fired Mickey Callaway. He also spent a year with the New York Yankees in a front office role after leaving the Astros.

The scandal aftermath has now left three MLB clubs scrambling to find new managers with less than a month before the start of pre-season training camps.